We’re all aware of the progressions that have been made in the world of tidal energy, and there is a significant amount of awareness that the ocean offers us an ideal source of renewable energy, in superfluous amounts no less. However, the true potential is yet to be harnessed.
Due to the fact that the ocean is such a harsh environment, the tech that has been developed to this point hasn’t been able to capitalise on the power and potential available, whether it’s wave or tidal power. There are cases of wave power buoys being sunk and wrecked from rough seas and the cost to run maintenance for tech such as this has meant investors aren’t keen to get involved.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to a number of tireless innovators out there who continue to strive for that ideal design, we may now be edging that bit closer to realising the right technology for the brief, which would unlock a world of potential.
There is such a big call for this to become a realisation that in 2014, NASA even put out an open call for wave energy innovations in order to help kick on the development of fresh ideas. And thanks to this type of perseverance a new design that’s received funding through the National Science Foundation promises to be robust enough to withstand its environment and harness wave energy with little maintenance required too.
This advancement in renewable energy has been developed by Oscilla Power. Their Triton system will be a utility-scale wave energy ‘gatherer’ that, with the few moving parts it has, will harvest the energy efficiently. And thanks to the lack of moving parts the device benefits from this and makes it a great deal sturdier.
The Triton is made up of a floating platform that incorporates generators constructed using a special metal alloy, tethered to a heavy ring which is referred to as a heave plate, which is then submerged under the water. The team behind the invention have given details on the heave plate, explaining that it wants to stay still, and therefore the movement caused by waves generates a constant change in tautness for the tethers. Those alterations in tension change are then tapped into by the generators, producing electricity.
The National Science Foundation have a positive outlook on the technology, stating “This technology shows promise as a means for delivering utility-scale electric power to the grid at a price that is competitive with conventional fossil or renewable technologies.”
At present there are scaled down prototypes being studied, both in the lab and out in the water, with the hope that they can soon get to the full scale version, measuring 30 yards across. This full scale technology would be capable of powering in excess of 650 homes, with no damage to the environment whatsoever, leaving behind cleaner glamping UK destinations for you and I to enjoy.
You can watch the video of the wave energy technology in action here: